Remembering the murder of WSJ reporter Danny Pearl
Farah Stockman of The New York Times writes about the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl, which occurred 19 years ago.
Stockman writes, “But I can’t forget. Daniel Pearl and I were both trying to interview the same reclusive spiritual leader in Pakistan when he was kidnapped and killed. ‘Don’t worry,’ a spokesman for the spiritual leader assured me. ‘If anyone gets an interview, it will be you.’ But Mr. Pearl, a more seasoned journalist who served as The Journal’s South Asia bureau chief at the time, found someone who promised to arrange the coveted interview. He jumped into a taxi and disappeared.
“Weeks later, Mr. Pearl’s beheading shocked the world. That was the moment I realized that this thing we do called journalism contained dangers I hadn’t contemplated before. It was a fitting lesson for the era of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which opened the country’s eyes to how easily it could become a victim. And so it was upsetting to read recently that a Pakistani court ordered the release of Omar Sheikh, the British-born militant who orchestrated the kidnapping of Mr. Pearl. Mr. Sheikh had been sentenced to death in 2002, but the execution never happened. Last year, a Pakistani court downgraded his conviction to a simple abduction — punishable by seven years in prison, which he had already served.
“The court rulings open old wounds and illuminate a central question at the heart of the war on terror that remains unresolved: Are there some crimes so terrible that we must never let the perpetrators walk free, even if a judge orders it?”
Read more here.